Spoilers ahead for The White Lotus season finale.
And the sacrifice in the finale of The White Lotus turned out to be… Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge). Cause of death: helplessness. Accomplice: unearned wealth, the kind that never forces you to actually grow up and become independent.
In the moments leading up to the series’ final stretches, Twitter was filled with pleas, “Dear God, don’t let it be Tanya,” proof that despite her spoiled child-heiress vibes, she was still the most popular character on the show. To make matters worse, the woman we saw barely taking care of herself for two seasons was somehow able to unload a round of gunfire on the gay cabal, who plotted her murder on a yacht, only to fail to successfully board an escape boat, causing her to fall to her death. That haunts. We might have kind of hated Tanya, but we also didn’t want her to be murdered by a cheating husband for her money. That must mean that we feel something like sympathy for her and the others on this fantasy island. Or at least a pity.
For the whole The White Lotus‘s prosperous fever dream I marveled at the Creator mike white‘s ability to both satirize and humanize his subjects. You should hate these vile, frivolous people – and we do. Their money makes them insensitive idiots, oblivious to the feelings or pain of others, and martyrs to their own suffering. We are better than them! We would be nicer and appreciate our riches more! You can hardly survive without a bevy of assistants and associates at all times! We could board an escape dinghy without critical head injury if we had to! And yet, because we’ve seen their misery, their pain, and their inability to experience deep connection, we have to ask the question: Does money do that to everyone? Would it do that to us?
Hate watching is nothing new, but there are hints in the show’s rabid fandom that suggest more love than hate is afoot. Cameron (Theo James) is a top-notch dork who wears his seedy lust on his $200 short-sleeved Paul Smith bird-print shirt, but he’s been paralyzed since his first cocky trou-drop earlier in the series. Mrs. Daphne (Meghan Fahy) is the living embodiment of the insular oblivion that money offers. By simply blocking out what’s awkward in the world, fans have fallen in love with her slick brain-level performance, because “to find happiness‘ and is one of the few characters who “Know what this world is and make the best of it.” Dominik (Michael Imperoli) may be a hopeless poonhound despite his desire for change, but his pleading performance here has earned him pathetic daddy status.
In the finale, Dominic may have made inroads with his angry wife, but the airport scene shows he – and his family trio – will always have a roving eye. Normcore nice guy Albie (Adam DiMarco) is played when he pays Lucia (Simon Tabasco) a large sum courtesy of his father (who does this as “karmic payment” for how he treats women), only for her to dump him the next day. Still, he was defended as far too hot for anyone Not want to fuck. His reconnection with Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) at the airport suggests they know better next time. After all, Portia’s only value was her connection to Tanya’s wealth, and now that Tanya is dead and Jack (Leo Woodall) has turned out to be insane, she can finally play it safe. Poor people don’t make such adventurous mistakes twice.
I long have sexless nouveau riche Ethan (Will Sharpe) and Harper (AubreyPlaza) as proxies for the audience arguing about going over to the black money side. We identify with their initial resistance, contempt and skepticism towards this world and its inhabitants, yet allow ourselves to be seduced by the joys of this world alongside them – we take day trips to nearby Noto to stay in palazzos and ponder which fish we are supposed to order and marvel at the wine list. At first both appear to be in lockstep when it comes to maintaining their intellectual and moral superiority, but as the series progresses it becomes clear that Harper is increasingly willing to taste the pleasures of this world and play its games, while Ethan increasingly is simmering about whether he was betrayed.
https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2022/12/white-lotus-money-morals-season-2-finale We love to hate the characters in The White Lotus, but given the money we’d probably be more like them than we care to admit